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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Train Cancellation

The Moscow Times

Oktyabrskaya Railroad canceled daily service of the ER-200 high-speed train between Moscow and St. Petersburg on Tuesday, the Kommersant daily reported.

Oktyabrskaya management said the decision was due to the train’s frequent breakdowns. In the fall of 2000, the speed of the trains was increased from 160 to 200 kilometers per hour.

As of December, train service was offered five times a week.

Oktyabrskaya Railroad said in a press release Tuesday that the high-speed train will now travel from Moscow to St. Petersburg only on Fridays.




Almaz Reaches Tokyo

Reuters

TOKYO — Platinum group metal export agency Almazjuvelirexport, or Almaz, has advised that its first palladium delivery under 2001 term contracts with Japanese firms will reach Tokyo on Thursday, trade sources said Tuesday.

"We have obtained information from Almaz that metal shipped by the agency will arrive at Tokyo international airport on Thursday," said an official at a Japanese company.

Last month, Almaz signed palladium supply contracts for this year with its Japanese customers, with monthly shipments agreed to be made from January to December. It was the first time in four years the two sides reached an agreement on new palladium contracts before the start of the new year.




Gazprom Profits

Reuters

Natural gas monopoly Gazprom said Monday its international accounting standard consolidated net profits were 31.95 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) in the first nine months of 2000.

Gazprom said the unaudited results were the first nine-month IAS figures it had released and could not give comparable data for the year-ago period. The company reported a net IAS loss of 79.28 billion rubles for all of 1999.

Last month, Gazprom said nine-month profits, calculated to Russian accounting standards, were 97.1 billion rubles.




Not on the Agenda

Reuters

A demand by minority shareholders of national utility Unified Energy Systems for an extraordinary general meeting is not on the agenda for discussion at a Feb. 2 board meeting, a company spokesman said Monday.

The spokesman said the board would discuss calling the annual meeting, but not an EGM. Minority shareholders have been pressing board chairman Alexander Voloshin, the Kremlin chief of staff, who controls the government’s stake in the national power monopoly, for an EGM to increase their influence in advance of a planned carve-up of the company.

"This is not an extraordinary shareholder meeting [on the board’s agenda]," said a press service spokesman. "This is the annual shareholders meeting. Granted, it will be conducted a little earlier than usual."




VEB Pays Soviet Debt

The Moscow Times

Vneshekonombank had paid $24.8 million in interest on former Soviet debt to Paris Club creditors as of Saturday, Prime-Tass reported.

The payment was not featured in the rescheduling agreement. It covered the interest due in the beginning and the middle of December of $11.6 million and $13.2 million, respectively.

A report by the VEB press service said Monday that the Finance Ministry was regularly funding the payments. Interest on the non-rescheduled debt to the Paris Club will come to $9.6 million by the end of this month.




Sunseed Export Tariff

Reuters

The government will double the export tariff on sunseed to 20 percent of the customs value, a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin said Monday.

The current rate of the tariff is 10 percent of the customs value, but no less than 15 euros ($14) per metric ton.

"The [government] commission [for protective measures in foreign trade] has decided that the rate will be 20 percent and the minimum will be 30 euros," said spokesman Gennady Yezhov.




Gazprom-Itera Audit

The Moscow Times

Gazprom’s board of directors voted Tuesday to hire auditing giant PricewaterhouseCoopers to clarify the financial relationship between Gazprom and Itera, Interfax reported.

Boris Fyodorov, who represents minority shareholders on the board, accused the management of natural gas monopoly Gazprom of transferring hundreds of millions of dollars of assets to Itera, which is largely owned by Gazprom executives and their relatives.

At December’s meeting, the board entrusted Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref to form a committee to investigate the relationship. Since then, few steps have been taken in that direction.

Because PricewaterhouseCoopers already conducts annual audits of Gazprom, Fyodorov came out against selecting it to audit the investigation.